On the eve of the first Shellharbour City Council meeting since the controversial walkout Cr Rob Petreski said there was a sense of "apartheid" in the chambers.
But Mayor Chris Homer said raising the spectre of apartheid was "absolutely outrageous".
Tuesday night marks the first council meeting since the four Labor councillors walked out of the chamber on April 18 over claims debate was being stifled.
It was a move that was branded as "a watershed moment" on the one hand, and a "tantrum" on the other.
Cr Petreski was one of those to walk and said there wouldn't be a repeat performance at Tuesday night's meeting.
This was partially because the Labor councillors' action was not "planned or premeditated".
We have an apartheid at the moment in council.- Shellharbour councillor Rob Petreski
"We're working for the community - it will be business as usual," Cr Petreski said.
"We'll be back in the chamber, we'll be doing our work and doing what we were elected to do, which is represent our community."
There have been tensions within council, largely because the four Labor councillors believe the five independents use their numerical superiority to vote as a block.
"What we did is we drew attention to the poor practices within the chamber," Cr Petreski said.
"We have an apartheid at the moment in council and unfortunately the four Labor councillors are the ones who are on the receiving end of that apartheid.
"We need to be a collective and we need to work together for the community and not letting people speak is in no way advantageous to the community."
Mayor Homer was not impressed with equating the situation in council with apartheid.
"It's absolutely outrageous that Cr Petreski is describing things like that," Mayor Homer said.
"Frankly, I just think he's trying to create a perception of dysfunctional leadership because I think Cr Petreski's got ambitions."
Mayor Homer noted the newly elected Labor Local Government Minister Ron Hoenig found "nothing to see down there".
He would also approach Tuesday's meeting with a 'business as usual' attitude.
"We're just going to move forward as a fully functional and successful council," he said.
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